Fayette County Commissioner David Barlow issued an apology on Wednesday for statements last week calling Democrats “Demoncrats.” Erick wrote about Barlow’s remarks yesterday. According to the Fayette Citizen, Barlow apologized by saying,
My passion for Jesus Christ and saving lives was wrongly portrayed by me this past Thursday evening. During a regular commission meeting, I gave a prepared statement to our local press and during commissioners comments read the statement into the record. I was wrong. I spoke with Ms. Pota Coston and offered my humble apology to her and asked for her forgiveness, which she graciously gave. Also, I am sending this apology to the other board members to include the local Democratic Party, asking for their forgiveness as well. I truly regret my comments and would like everyone to know that I look forward to working with Pota as we move Fayette County forward.
Barlow was roundly criticized for his remarks by the chairs of the Fayette County Democratic Committee and the Fayette County GOP, along with Commission Chair Steve Brown, who penned a letter to the editor condemning the content of his remarks but defending the commissioner’s right to say them:
In prepared remarks, Commissioner Barlow demeaned people in the audience and others in our community, namely Democrats, calling them “demons” and “evil.” There have been consistent verbal and written attacks on the Internet that consist of name-calling and venomous insults of Democrats and specifically female Democrats.
Commissioner Barlow often adds that his insults are given in the name of God as witnessed in Thursday’s display at our meeting with him saying, “I declare this, in the mighty name of Jesus.”
I had to sit through one tirade where Commissioner Barlow debased “the Blacks” with stereotypical racial insults, saying he knew such things to be true from his days of living in Mississippi. I reminded him in front of colleagues that he was talking about my wife and he offered no apology.
Yes, I think his remarks are incendiary and serve no other purpose than to divide local residents. However, I believe Commissioner Barlow has the right to express himself no matter how many of us disagree with him, noting that his words will only cause division if we allow them to do so.
Here’s where I have to politely disagree with Chairman Brown. While he claims Barlow’s statements will only divide people if they are allowed to, it’s remarks like these that make it much more difficult for the Republican Party to expand its base.
Leo Smith, Minority Engagement Director for the Georgia GOP, tweeted this story yesterday morning. It’s a piece about the Republicans at Morehouse College. The young men talk about why blacks don’t vote for Republicans. In addition to saying that social issues like gay marriage keep people away from the GOP–an opinion shared by many white College Republicans–they brought this up:
[O]ne student blurted out “And Stop bashing Obama”. While everyone in the room considered themselves a Republican or Libertarian, every single person in that room thought highly of President Barack Obama the man, if not the politician.
“I respect the man, he’s done historic things” says political director Mark, dressed in a dapper suit and tie in the middle of the room,
”But Policy is fair game”.
There’s an old saying that you can’t unring a bell. Statements like Barlow’s and Facebook posts like this are not going to be helpful if the GOP hopes to expand beyond its current base.